Democracy screenshotThe free Democracy Player from the Participatory Culture Foundation is a slick tool for finding and downloading Internet videos. Unlike, say, YouTube, you don’t have to sit around and wait for a semi-crappy video to buffer before you watch it. Instead, you browse through single videos or channels that look interesting, mark them for downloading, and then come back later after the downloading’s done.

The videos are high quality, with high framerates and enough resolution that they look good in fullscreen playback (which Democracy supports). Unfortunately the software’s still beta, so it’s buggy — it can run slowly, and crashes occasionally. Democracy is also missing some user-friendly features, such as a note next to each video that says how long it is in minutes (all it currently shows is the video’s size in MB). There’s no easy way to get info about a video’s title, origin, and so forth, after you’ve downloaded it or while it’s playing. But the array of excellent video that it provides make Democracy worth the occasional hassles.